KEVIN STENT / Sende
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced that 1,000 international third-year students will be able to return, starting in April. (Photo Photo).
Universities are celebrating the news that 1,000 international students will be allowed to enter the country, almost a year after they were stranded offshore when the borders were closed.
On Thursday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that 300 students would arrive in April and another 700 as allowed by the availability of MIQ.
Universities across New Zealand have struggled over the loss of international students since the border closed in March last year. Some institutions have considered surpluses as a result of financial loss. International students have expressed concerns about losing scholarships and program places.
And while 1,000 students is a small drop in the bucket compared to the 34,000 international students enrolled in higher education in 2019, it was estimated that those who would return would pour $ 49 million into the economy.
* International doctoral and postgraduate students exempted from entering New Zealand
* Covid-19: Heartache for international high school students separated from their families due to border restrictions
* Coronavirus: Government to allow trapped foreign children Covid-19 to complete school year
* Coronavirus: Government spends $ 51 million on international education sector, but says students will not return this year
Our top priority continues to be the health, safety and well-being of all people in New Zealand, Hipkins said.
Students would be charged for standard managed isolation fees and would have to reserve their space through the allocation system.
The exemption is granted to students of grade level or above who had started their studies in New Zealand but were caught offshore when the border was closed.
Hipkins said their return would not affect Kiwis’ ability to return home and was balanced against the demand for skilled workers to enter the country.
Students do not need to apply for places, top-level providers will identify and nominate those who are eligible.
They must have or have held a visa to study in 2020, have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 towards their current qualification and must be in place to complete their study.
Priority will be given to students who were closer to graduation.
Acting Vice Chancellor of Victoria University Rawinia Higgins welcomed the announcement.
The university will work with the Department of Education, New Zealand Immigration and other agencies to manage this process, which will see some Wellington students able to return to study on campus this year.
Aucklie Moore, deputy director of the international offices of the University of Auckland, said that given the number of students left offshore, 1,000 may seem like a small number.
But for each individual student, the opportunity to return is great.
Canterbury University Director of International Relations Tracey Wilson said the students were deeply affected by the border closure and she was pleased a small number would return to campus.
At the University of Otago, International Director Jason Cushen welcomed the news, saying he would work with the New Zealand Ministry of Education and Immigration to manage student returns.
While Massey University was also pleased with the announcement, Vice Chancellor Tere McGonagle-Daly said conditions were limited, giving priority specifically to students closest to graduation.
All of our international students are important and we need to provide security for all of them.
Education New Zealand Manapou ki to Ao Chief Executive Grant McPherson said international education had far-reaching benefits for New Zealand.
Prior to the launch of Covid-19, international education contributed $ 5 billion to the economy and supported about 45,000 jobs, he said.
In October last year the government allowed 250 doctoral students to return to New Zealand.
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